When did you allow your children to get a pet?

When did you allow your child to get their first pet? What made you come to this decision? My 8 year old has been wanting a kitten but I want to make sure she is ready. What are some things I can tell her about how much of a responsibility it is?


I would just explain all the different things a kitten needs and maybe even take a trip to a supply store and show them everything. But I wouldn’t expect for the child to take care of the kitten by themselves. You should help at least long enough to make sure they’re doing what they’re supposed to and make sure the kitten is being cared for.


Oh gosh- like 100% her pet and her responsibility? I’d start with a fish… If she can keep the fish alive then you can move to something more complex like a cat. Talk about how you have to feed it, make sure it’s litter box is clean and ready, make sure they know how to use the litter box and as they are learning, she’d be responsible for cleaning messes etc. you have to keep them from escaping outside, make sure they are healthy etc!

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My daughter is 7 and she currently has 18 chickens, 5 ducks, 5 pygmy goats, 4 bunnies, a cat, a bearded dragon, a ball python and 3 fish. Yes they are all her pets and she is required to take care of them which she does. She has had pets her whole life and has been responsible for the ones she asked for since she was old enough. She even cleans our her cats litter box! ( she doesn’t feed the snake. Her daddy does that).

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When they cam show responsibility for other things. Ie…keeping room clean…


My mom literally gave us pet rocks…very little upkeep.


My boys are 7 and 9. We have a dog, a turtle, a gerbil, hermit crabs and several fish. They’ve managed to feed them and clean their tanks/cages pretty good by themselves including bathing the dog. Of course I help out when I need too but all these pets are our family pets which means it’s everyone’s responsibility. :heart:

We got a puppy at 10 months

Don’t go into getting a pet thinking your kid is going to take total responsibility for its care… get a pet only if you are willing to take care of it with her help.


My oldest got her 1st kitten at 3. We have always had pets and she was always wanting to help. When she asked we explained and she loves her kitty and the responsibility. She just doesn’t do the cat box. Otherwise she is happy to feed water and hang out while I clean the box lol.

My 9 year old has a dog, bearded dragon, and a cockteil.

My kids have never not had a dog. My daughters first word was dog. Her first job she rescued a boxer from a kill shelter

We had three cats when our boys were born. We now only have two. The oldest wants a dog, but after explaining what needs to be done he doesn’t so much anymore. lol the youngest will feed the cats now and then but we had these guys before the kids so not expecting them too. They both know when they get a pet they want, they will be taking care of them most of the time.

My one year old has a turtle she watches me feed him everyday

My daughter is five. We got her a kitten back in May. She feeds and waters her. My husband does do the litter box cause we don’t expect her to pick it up to empty it but she will help him refill the box after it’s cleaned.

My 4 year old won a goldfish at the fair last year. Now she has 5 glofish and an algea eater. We had 2 dogs before we had our oldest so they became her babies. She’s such an animal lover. She’d keep a rollie pollie if we let her.

My son is 3 and has a cat. We have 2 of them. He helps with feeding them and brushing. He is very nice to them but my husband and i do the litter boxes and change the gravity water feeder

My daughter had a dog and 2 kittens by 3 years old.

3, he has a cat. He feeds it, gives it water,treats love and affection everyday. I’m stuck cleaning the box :roll_eyes:but I dont want him to do that anyways. :grimacing:He’s now 4 and still takes care of her everyday


We have tons of pets (2 dogs, 2 cats, a rabbit and fish in the house and chickens outside. My boys are 7, 5 and almost 2. I think if you go in with the mindset that you are the primary care giver to the pet and your daughter is going to help you will be better off. No child even at nine should be the sole care taker of an animal. My boys help; feed, pet them when I cut their claws, we do the dirty work.

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I had both dogs and the cat before my son was born…so he just gives them treats.
For his 3rd birthday in July I bought him a betta fish and a 1.5 gallon tank.
Its “his” pet but let’s be realistic. Any pets that ever come into the house fall onto my responsibility financially and generally care once the glamorous side of ownership fades. Lol.

So I haven’t killed the betta fish yet! Hardy little suckers. Thank god.

3 or 4 we started fish.
6 I brought a kitten home from work to surprise him with.

Cats are easy. I think that would be a good age for one. Just have to discuss that they have to clean the cat litter.

If you’re expecting the child to be 100% responsible for it, never. At 9 I think they can be mostly responsible/help a lot with it.

My 5 yr old( 6 in 2 months) has been begging me for an animal since she could talk. Last year, we came to an agreement that she couldn’t get a family pet(ex, a dog and cat) she could get a small pet when she was 8 or 9 AFTER she has helped take care of the current family animals(we have a big dog and 2 cats), she needs to research what animal she wants and figure out what they need to live healthy and happy lives, and she needs to save for it to buy all the upfront costs(animal, habitat, bedding, food, toys, etc…). She’s already at $70, and keep in mind I’ll be providing the rest of the food and bedding after the upfront one, and yes I’ll be helping her with the research, the cleaning and so forth until she can do it on her own. Someone mentioned no matter the animal go in with thinking you’re gonna do all the work.

My daughter found a toad when she was 3 that we kept for the winter until the next summer lol

I had a dog before kids. My kids have had a cat, rat, fish, chickens and a turtle. They’re 5 and 2

Part of having a pet for your child is caring for it. And teaching your child to care for it. All kids need pets :heart_eyes: i can’t imagine not having pets. The only reason a pet leaves our home is to go to rainbow brigde.

My daughter has 3 dogs and she’s 8 months old :woman_shrugging:t3::joy:

My son was that age when he got his first animal which was a guinea pig did great keeping up with them. We left them with a friend who let them get too hot and they didn’t survive when we went out of town for a funeral.

Let her volunteer at your local SPCA so she can be involved in the care. Make sure she wants it

I would start smaller than a kitten, especially if it’s going to be up to her to take care of it. Accept that it may end up being your pet in the end, because if she doesn’t show the responsibility needed, you can’t just let an animal live or die in neglect to teach her a lesson. So be ready for it to be your kitten, your hamster, your goldfish, etc.

As a parent my kids promise when I got them a kitten they would take care of it LOL. They did help out for a while but the way I look at it is everybody’s going to enjoy the pet so everybody can share the responsibilities for it. If all your child is asking for is a kitten I would say go for it because literally it’s not hard to change cat litter and make sure they have food and water. It’s not like you have to take them out for walks or let them out every half an hour.

My daughter was two when we had to nurse a kitten that got burned. She fell in love with him and by the time he was well enough to get around she started feeding and watering him. She brushes him and does everything but clean out his litter box. She is almost 6 now and she has a pygmy goat and bantam chickens she cares for. She also helps with the family dog and pigs.

Unpopular opinion-I don’t think kids should get pets ,kids think animals are temporary :upside_down_face:

A child can not take care of themself. They can help take care of a pet, but they can not have the full responsibility.

I think that is a good age as long as you are okay with reminding them to feed, water, and scoop the box until they get used to it

My granddaughter has been around pets since the day she was born. Dogs, cats, fish, birds, bearded dragons, snakes, mice, hamsters, chameleons, sugar gliders, rats and mice.

I have 5kittens that are few days old

My daughter is 5 and we got her a kitten a few months ago. She does pretty well, but needs reminded a lot…

We are a blended family. Him and his kids had a dog that joined us as a family 5 yrs ago. She lived with us for about a year then she passed. The kids wanted another dog but we waited for about 2 yrs. Then we got a puppy for my oldest classmate. I told them I wanted to pick out the puppy since I was buying it. 100% mutt. So we went and looked at the puppies and I found one that I absolutely loved. When she was ready we picked her up and brought her home. As a family we named her. The oldest 2 girls helped train her all the way around. Potty training, sit, stay, shake, kisses, and so on. They help with accidents somewhat. But that was still me.
They have done well with her. She loves her kid humans. But loves mom and dad also. Since the kids are older they were able to understand more about taking care of a puppy.
Our sassy pup is now 3 and is 100% spoiled rotten.

I got mine for my 5th bday. I was old enough to have a lot of the responsibility that came with him and I loved having him. He was truly my bestie. 8 is definitely old enough for a kitten. They’re so low maintenance.

My youngest son cat he got her almost a year ago on his bday when he was 3 my youngest was only a few months old his cat name is Aurora and she’s a lovable hugger

I agree start with a fish and if she stays interested move to a more high demand pet like a kitten.

We are starting with a beta fish. And its been a couple of months now. We have 5 kids and told them that they need to show responsibility before we get a cat or dog. :slight_smile: so far so good.

8 years old is old enough for one.

Start with a plant though! Then work up to an actual pet lol

My daughter is 10 and has two dogs. I think 10 and up is the perfect age to have a pet

Lol they didn’t ask me they would sneak a cat in and wouldn’t find out until.2 wks after because I was busy going to school and working at the same time. Lol until I heard it meowing and looked for it. They would hide it in their closet. Right? Zyon Kish and Brayden Moore


When I was ready to care for it

My granddaughter was 2 1/2 when she got her first calf and she loved to help feed and take care of it you have to teach her how to take care of it

My child has had pets around since birth and she got a bunny for her first birthday. She loves playing with the dogs and bunny and helps with feeding and bathing. She also likes watching our fish get fed

My kids have grown up with so many pets haha. And my 5 yo does a great job feeding the animals and giving em water

As far as pets go cats are lower maintenance in my opinion. We have always had pets. My 8 year old feeds and cleans after his cat. We help with the dogs

We have had a dog since before our kids were born and they absolutely love him. However if you are worried about her being able to take care of the cat maybe reach out to a local no profit animal shelter that she can go volunteer at to see exactly what it takes to take care of at cat.

My girls have had dogs since they came home from the hospital. We recently had to put one down, and the oldest (3) has had to learn about loss. She feeds the dog. She walks the dog. And she lets the dog in and out to go potty or come inside.

We tried fish, but i killed them. She took really good care of them too tho. I think by her always having them around and just knowing that this is what we do, will help her in the long run.

My son has always had a pet, he’s two and we currently have two cats of our own and my roommate has cats. He’s Also been around family who has dogs. They only issue I’ve seen is playing with the cat/dog food or eating it

My son asked for a dog when he was three. Of course at three he really didn’t know what he was thinking lol. My ex husband ended up coming home with a pup and she’s now mine :sweat_smile:. Both my kids help feed and water her though and they love her to pieces. Kids are 8 and 6 now and they don’t like leaving her home alone. It’s all about how you teach them to take care and love the animal.

we had a cat since my daughter was 3. she got a dog at 10. cats are less work. need a strong stomach to clean kitty litter tho! pets make kids so happy. worth it. :cat2: :dog:

My kids have always had pets. Hamsters, fish, cats dogs etc. It was a great way to teach them responsibility.

My kids were raised with their pets and have learned age appropriate responsibilities for each animal.

My kids have been playing with lizards and frogs and turtles since year 1, we have chickens,geese, ducks,dogs and a cat, they are VERY entertained

My daughter was turning 10 when she got her cat. And my son was turning 7 when he got “his” dog. I really wanted a puppy. Lol

Our first born wanted a kitten and we got him one when he was 4 1/2 . And our other two kids have had pets since birth.

She just got a hamster at 7. We live in an apartment so dogs and cats will have to wait

I would seriously educate her on why animals get fixed- what can happen if they get lost, what happens if they’re dehydrated or hungry, what diseases and pests they can get.
Let her know that she not only has to clean the litter everyday to keep it smelling ok, but also to make sure her kitty is peeing and pooing, cause not doing these for a couple days can lead to kidney failure and death.
Tell her that she has to excersize her cat a couple times a day or it will claw furniture, get into trouble, and be less affectionate.
I know this sounds harsh, but I wouldnt sugar coat anything.
Also let her know how much vet costs are. Put them in terms for her. “This vet visit is 600$ that’s like 3 times the amount we spend on your Christmas presents, or the cost of renting a one bedroom apartment.”
And cats are one of the least expensive, lowest maintenance pets.

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8 is definitely old enough for a kitty. Just make sure she knows that she will have to clean the litter box.

The pet never belongs to the child. We have 3 dogs and i take care of everything. The kids are 21 and 25 and I still need to call home when away on business to make sure they are feed and watered.

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Drill in the litter box from day one the last thing you want is to smell then you end up cleaning it. Lol my daughter was bad for this lol

I got my son a dog when he was 4. He is 9 now and helps clean up after her.

My boys have had cats since birth… they love them so much!!

I think that’s more of an adult thing

Feeding watering cleaning litter box going to vet playing and teaching them to not claw up your house.

My granddaughter and her husband have 2 adorable little girls that I love so much. Ages 4 an 2. They just recently got them 2 kittens. Kittens went back today. It was a matter of life and death…theirs!!:rofl::smiling_face_with_three_hearts::smiling_face_with_three_hearts:

Try something like a plant or fish first and if she keeps it alive she can have a kitty

As a parent it is actually your responsibility. You can’t rely on children to take 100% responsibility for animals. They can help, but it will still be you constantly reminding them to feed the animal, clean up after the animal and it’s you that has to oversee that everything is done and done right. Do not get a pet if you are not willing to do most of the work yourself then get mad and rehome the pet.

I had my own Guinea pig at 6, BUT I was mature for my age

I was 6 when I got my first kitten. I was 12 when we started leasing my pony. Was 15 when I got my first dog. As an adult, I have 5 cats, 5 barn cats, 4 horses, 1 dog, a hamster and a fish. My kids are learning so much about animals and care and how to treat them through their experiences.

My kids were born with a doggie. Then it died. We got a cat then a bearded dragon lizard. My 4 year old loves Rex and do wonderfully. I think any children can have pet at any age if the parents are present and show how to care for them. All that.